Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up in Gaming - March 14 - 27

So, I skipped a week so that this edition of the Wrap-Up could be a little longer, and actually have more than one game in it.  And do I ever have more than one game.  The answer is yes, I have three this week.  Movin' on up.

Still, let's start with The Sly Collection, specifically Sly 3, as we have covered it already.

I've actually had a lot of fun with Sly 3, but I've also had a lot of bad things to come with it.  Specifically, enough glitches to convince me that my PS3 was going to die again.  Now, while I haven't narrowed it down to -just- being Sly 3, as in, I'm still not sure if my PS3 is on its last legs, I've only had problems while playing it.  With all the time I've spent playing Yakuza 4, which I will get to later, I never had one issue, so it has me at a bit of a loss.  Regardless, the worst was a bout of freezing (Froze, I turned it off, back on, froze, turned off and back on, had no audio, went to quit, almost had a crash but turned it off), and I've had a few times where the audio has had a lot of static accompanying it.  The static ends up clearing itself up however, which, at the very least, is nice.

The problems haven't all been technical, though.  Sucker Punch's direct stubbornness to learn how to implement checkpoints properly has been a thorn in my side since the first game, so it's no surprise that it's still around.  And I can't name all the times I've made it to the end of a bossfight (like, one more hit) only to get hit once and killed.  The problems are similar, but the way Sly's bosses are, they don't really bode well for checkpoints.  (Well, aside from the final ones, and a few other exceptions OCTAVIO.)  However, the boss fights are fairly bullshit.

Honestly, it's really really hard to think the same development studio made these games and inFamous, judging by the boss fights in both sets of games.  I never, ever wanted to snap my controller in half while playing inFamous, but with the Sly series?  It's like every boss is designed to be an exercise in frustration, because on this level that it manages to be, I can't imagine them play-testing it and going, "YEAH THIS IS TOTALLY FUN GUYS".  Especially the one pictured above, the General Tsao fight, part one.

Now, this might be partially because of me and my own opinion.  I absolutely can't stand Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, over-the-top Wire-Fu Bullshit.  Because that's all it is to me.  I can't fathom how something that is done only to look cool, can't even manage to be visually interesting to me, but it doesn't, and I really wish it would die.  Maybe it's because I look at it and go, "Even if I suspend my beliefs here, shit doesn't work like that", and start thinking more about the physics involved than anything.  I mean, there's a difference between someone raising off the ground and flying around all willy-nilly, dumbshit-looking, and someone running to a wall, jumping, kicking off and flying.  I don't know if there's meant to be an implied gracefulness in the former, but it just doesn't work for me.

Anyways, after that, the game took a rather weird turn eventually, and I'm not quite sure what my feelings are on it yet.  Dealing with a pirate themed level leads to appropriating a pirate ship that you actually take around a map, deal with random other ships through ship-to-ship combat, and honestly, it adds a lot.  But it's not quite...fleshed out, properly.  It's a bit hard to steer, combat isn't exactly easy, and while it puts you on a more even footing than hand-to-hand combat (with anyone but Murray), sometimes it also feels like you just don't stand a chance, just because.

I imagine by this time next week, I'll finally have it beaten and can offer my full opinion on it, but so far, it's about even in pros and cons.  I feel like every time I find something neat, it instantly annoys me, or something involved -in- it instantly annoys me, and I can't just enjoy it.  Which, as we can imagine, is a bit of a problem.

And now, for our next game.

My return to Kamurocho, while limited, has been exquisite.  My initial fumblings with Akiyama as a main (one of four) have been ironed out, and I can actually feel like quite a 'Baws' with him.  And the city has never looked better.  With all the new additions of new places you can go into, it's never felt bigger, either; and there's still places I've yet to go, even.  And as far as the environment of the city, it's about the same as always, you get a bit of a quirky feeling, along with the knowledge that it's filled with punk kids with nothing better to do, and Yakuza who think they own the streets.

For some reason, I feel like I'm doing quite a bit in not so much time, though.  The last time I played, I finished one of Akiyama's side-stories only to be told that I had finished all of Akiyama's side-stories.  Confused, I went to the area set up for just this thing, where the Bob twins are (Yakuza running theme) and actually got my reward for it.  Substories complete.  One down, many more things to go.  All of the side-things are made apparent in the Challenges part of the menu, and while there's quite a lot, I have two completed; Akiyama's stories and his training.  All in all, I believe all I have to do (unless there's things that only he can do that I don't remember) is finish out his section.  Which is an odd feeling for a Yakuza game, as I always play them and feel like there's always things to do outside of the obvious.

Still, at the very -most-, that's only a fourth of the game down, and I haven't even finished his section yet.  So there's quite a bit ahead of me.  And I'll be looking forward to all Yakuza 4 has to offer me; two more characters I've never used before, and a return to being the Dragon of Dojima.

Since my last Weekly Wrap-Up, I've picked up Ghost of Sparta, beaten it, beaten it again, and unlocked everything short of things you can only get from Hard and Very Hard modes, as well as dealing with the additional challenges.  There's no added bonus, so I don't see the reason to purposefully frustrate myself with them. >.>;

On the whole, I'm completely satisfied.  Saying it's the best portable God of War game isn't that much of a praise, since there's only one other for it to compete with, and I can't say it's my favorite God of War game, because it is not God of War 2 or 3.  But it really, really is difficult to find anything terribly negative to say about it.  The story was what it needed to be, the combat was stellar, as always, and it provided plenty of moments that you expect from the GoW games;  Epic moments, those moments you can't help but grin or laugh at sadistically (or, watched mortified I imagine), and those moments where the scale is such that you can't help but feel something resembling awe.

Without spoiling too much, I will say that it does manage to offer some surprises, which, well, surprised me, since I hadn't even considered they'd do quite what they did with the final boss, and that managed to excite me with the game, and the series, all over again.  While it looks like there isn't a lot of ground left to cover within it, I wouldn't be adverse to another entry, and regardless of what's next, I look forward to whatever Sony Santa Monica and ReadyAtDawn have in store next, especially with the NGP on the horizon.

That's about it for this week's installment.  I've played a couple of flash games over at Kongregate, but nothing too note-worthy, and these are the games I've spent any amount of time with in these past couple weeks.  So, all in all, it's been a great time.

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